Key Stage 3 Assessment

Assessment Changes Year 7 to Year 9

Our assessment system for students in Year 7 to Year 9 reflect two significant national changes:

  1. GCSE assessment have changed from letter grades to number grades (9 to 1).  This will affect all students in Year 7 to 9
  2. Removal of National Curriculum Levels at Key Stage 3.  All schools have devised their own assessment system for students prior to GCSE

Other features of the new GCSEs include:

  • Linear exams in the Summer of Year 11 with no modules
  • Increased content and difficulty
  • Greater focus on quality of written communication
  • No coursework

As an Academy we have responded to these changes with the purpose of best preparing our students for their GCSE exams.  Therefore, we use GCSE number grades for assessment for all students from Year 7 onwards.  This enables students, parents and staff to measure progress with respect to GCSE grades from 1 to 9.  We set students targets which are GCSE grades.  These targets are the grade we expect a student to achieve by the end of the year and the expectation will be to go up one grade per year.

We also need to ensure that we are preparing our students as best we possibly can for sitting GCSE exams as described above.  Therefore, we have more regular assessment by tests which cover a larger body of content, rather than the content recently covered in class.  These assessments take place towards the end of each term and the results of these assessments are reported home by the end of term.  The report shows the target grade and the grade achieved on the most recent assessment, as opposed to an average current working grade.

Additional Information

Expected progress is one GCSE grade per year. 

This chart indicates the overall GCSE target grade, with the grade we might expect students to be at by the end of each year.  For example, a student with a GCSE target of a 6 would have a target of 2 at the end of Year 7, 3 at the end of Year 8 etc.

GCSE Target

Progress from Year 7 to Year 11

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Year 10

Year 11

4 1 2 3 4 4
5 1 2 3 5 5
6 2 3 4 6 6
7 3 4 5 7 7
8 4 5 6 8 8

We will also use + and – to indicate progress within a particular grade.  For example, 2- will be at the lower end of 2 and 2+ will be the top end and getting close to the grade above.  We will also use w-, w and w+ for students who have not accessed grade 1.

  • Student targets can be increased if students achieve above their target grade in the Spring or Summer Term assessments.
  • The reported grade is no longer a working grade but the grade achieved in the most recent assessment.  This means the grade could quite possibly fluctuate more than an average working grade.

Measuring Progress and Underachievement

  • Students working below 1 can be graded w-, w or w+.
  • Students will either have Met Target, On Track or Below Target.

Autumn Term
On track means no more than 2 fine grades below target

e.g. target = 2 ⇒ On track will be 2- or 1+, anything lower is below target

Spring Term
On track means no more than 1 fine grade below target

e.g. target = 2 ⇒ On track will be 2-, anything lower is below target

GCSE Grades to Numbers and National Curriculum Levels

The chart below compares National Curriculum Levels, with GCSE grades and GCSE numbers.  It will help compare between these different ways of measuring progress.

New equivalent grades

This chart is meant as an indication and should not be taken as definitive.  However, it is a useful way of looking at progress between old NC Levels, GCSE grades and numbers.

For example, a student who is a NC Level of 6 in Maths at the end of Year 7 is approximately working at a D GCSE grade which is a 3 in the new number system.  We would expect that student to make one grade of progress per year and so we would have the following trajectory:  Y7 – 3, Y8 – 4, Y9 – 5, Y10 – 6, Y11 – 7

Targets will be increased if students exceed their target grade in the Spring or Summer Term assessments.